All Weekend, Every Weekend. On C-SPAN3.

Interpreting the U.S. Constitution

Shepherdstown, West Virginia
Sunday, October 13, 2013

Historian Raymond Smock focuses on the U.S. Constitution, examining how lawmakers have struggled with interpreting the document for centuries. Smock served as historian for the U.S. House of Representatives from 1983 to 1995, and is now the director of the Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies. This event took place on Constitution Day, September 17th.

Updated: Monday, October 14, 2013 at 5:27pm (ET)

Related Events

Is the American Constitution Worth Preserving?
Saturday, July 20, 2013     

A scholarly debate about whether the U.S. Constitution is archaic and inefficient, and whether it should remain the basis for the American system of government. The Constitution’s supporters argue for preserving the legacy and ideals of the Founding Fathers. The James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions and the Association for the Study of Free Institutions sponsored this program.

Alexander Hamilton & the U.S. Constitution
Sunday, September 1, 2013     

Rutgers University historian Andrew Shankman looks at Alexander Hamilton’s role in the debate over ratifying the U.S. Constitution, with a focus on Hamilton’s work in his home state of New York. This event took place in Poughkeepsie, New York, and begins with a ceremony honoring Hamilton’s legacy.

Constitution Ratification Debate
Saturday, September 28, 2013     

Pepperdine University Public Policy Professor Gordon Lloyd lectures on the Constitutional ratification debate that took place from September 1787 until the 13th and final state ratified the Constitution in 1790. This is one of a series of classes Professor Lloyd taught at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum.

Federalists, Antifederalists & the U.S. Constitution
Saturday, September 28, 2013     

Pepperdine University Public Policy Professor Gordon Lloyd describes the debate over the U.S. Constitution between the Federalists and Antifederalists. This is one of six lectures Professor Lloyd delivered on the Constitution and Bill of Rights at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California.

The Presidency: President Washington and the Constitution
Sunday, March 31, 2013     

What does the U.S. Constitution say about the presidency? That was the question confronting George Washington as he assumed office.  How Washington interpreted the Constitution and what he himself contributed to our idea of an American president is the topic Michael Nelson addressed at a conference dedicated to Washington, the Constitution and the powers of the presidency.  The Rhodes College political science professor spoke at Mount Vernon, Washington’s Virginia home.

The Presidency: The Constitution & the Presidency
Sunday, March 24, 2013     

Edwin Meese – former U.S. Attorney General and counselor to President Ronald Reagan –  spoke about the nation’s first president at a conference dedicated to George Washington, the U.S. Constitution and the powers of the presidency.  Recalling how Reagan’s reading of the Founding Fathers’ ideas shaped his time in the White House, Meese focused on the relevance of those ideas today.  This talk was delivered at Mount Vernon, George Washington’s Virginia home.

American Artifacts: George Washington's Constitution
Monday, December 31, 2012     

President George Washington's personal copy of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights was auctioned at Christie's in New York City for $9.8 Million, which was the most ever paid for an American printed book or manuscript. The 1789 book contains brackets and notes in the margins written by Washington himself to mark the powers of the executive branch. American History TV recorded the auction, and interviewed specialists at Christie's and at George Washington's Mount Vernon, the successful bidder at the auction.  

U.S. Supreme Court and the Constitution
Saturday, December 15, 2012     

Civil libertarian and New York University professor Burt Neuborne speaks at Cooper Union about how Supreme Court justices interpret the constitution. He argues that when there is no precedent, judges often make decisions based on their values which, in the 21st century, usually coincide with their political affiliations.

Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall
Sunday     

Historians and law professors met at the University of Baltimore Law School to discuss Mick Caouette’s film “Mr. Civil Rights: Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP.” They explored Marshall’s early law career as well as his work in the South to expand voting rights for African Americans. We also hear about his arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court, and how he became the first African American appointed to the highest court in the land.  

The Presidency: John Quincy Adams
Sunday     

A conversation with author Fred Kaplan about his biography, “John Quincy Adams: American Visionary.” Although he was not remembered for being a great president, Fred Kaplan argues that John Quincy Adams was one of the most intellectual commanders in chief, and also the best Secretary of State in American history. The New-York Historical Society hosted this event. 

Share This Event Via Social Media
C-SPAN's Video Library